And by that of course we mean fans and fanatics of the magical and sometimes maniacal sport of non-contact Bidding – designed for acquiring weights at our midseason / midsummer LH Selman Gallery’s 78th Paperweight Auction! (To Place Bids Click Here for the Auction Website)

Yes, our American mid-summer classic is here. Where once it truly was a life and death game (at least for the Aztecs) the contest now retains the excitement of those glorious days with the added benefit of the fact that in these more modern times your greatest injury may be no more than severe disappointment. But Know This — repeated auction disappointment can require a sling or even a body cast, and you really don’t want it building up in your joints. So don’t let it happen to YOU; act now and sell off all those dusty Bit-Coins and have your chips ready. Thank the gods and cash-strapped state governments for legalizing off-site betting (sorry, we meant BIDDING!) almost everywhere. The weights we have on deck this time around could fill any stadium with admirers, but with the price of gas being what it is – we figure that many of you will just catch the action from the comfort of home and skip the watered-down beer.


Note of Caution

Dear Fellow Glass Lover, as per usual this is a fatally flawed exercise; it’s an attempt to bring you some real sense of the overwhelming cornucopia that we offer in every auction. So forgive us in advance for missing your own choices and enjoy a few paperweight backstories with us If you’ve the time … and even if you don’t, please make the time! And if you call about a particular weight we didn’t cover, I can make up a story on the spot, just for you. Now that’s service!




LOT 1. Very rare antique Mount Washington dove in flight over blue rose bouquet magnum paperweight.


This quietly effervescent Mount Washington would be an American classic except that it’s SO RARE that we don’t think enough people have actually even seen one for it to be declared a classic! It’s an inspiring, even hopeful design — with the international symbol of peace, (especially since the Picasso sketch in 1949) the striking, lush rose, covered with the blue of well-being, and coupled with bursting buds that celebrate the fecundity of life. This weight is so outstanding you can feel good about charging your friends a fee just to look at it in your home. Soon the weight will be paying for itself, with lines out the door and down the block. Just a thought. Seriously, let the kids find their own ways through grad school. This is your one shot!




LOT 2. Rare Russian antique flower bouquet faceted paperweight.


Dangerously attractive, exotic and mysterious – the very definition of a Russian treasure. Yes, of course I’m referring to Dame Helen Mirren. And this glorious Russian weight has all those same characteristics, so the two reminded me of one another. And now to finally unmask the Academy Award-winning Helen Mirren – or should I say … Elena Lydia Vasilievna Mironova! – daughter of a former Russian aristocrat, and a possible double agent all these years!! We think she’s here to entertain and we never noticed that she’s been busy stealing our hearts in plain sight! And we also think there are secrets here never to be told, residing both within the stunning weight itself as well as in Helen’s little black book. At any rate, we know that Mother Russia would love to reclaim both these treasures, but we’re not issuing and visas for either any time soon. The phrase “You can’t go home again,” was originally written with Russia in mind.




LOT 5. Important and rare antique Clichy spaced millefiori and roses on moss ground paperweight.

This is magnificent. Not only is this a classic Clichy green moss carpet ground paperweight, but this example has the most high-octane and ebullient canes we’ve seen in this V12 sports model. We may have to test this one for crystal steroids. I mean stand back, because each cane in this explosive design has its own set of drums and a microphone, and you doubters should ask for close-ups to see for yourselves. And yes, the almost hallucinogenic and vertiginous curves on this outstanding glass sculpture may lure your eyes a bit out of their sockets. Worth the pain.




LOT 6. Extremely rare antique Baccarat close packed millefiori stave basket paperweight.

The word Baccarat has long denoted life lived with an edge, a cut above. From the world’s leading crystal to the dangerous card game played only in casinos by secret agents smoking unfiltered cigarettes—Baccarat sets you apart. Many of you know this but some of you are viewing this exquisite example of one of the glass house’s finest creations for the first time. The myriad, beautifully disparate elements within the dome come together in a seamless and concise visual statement. The overall harmony is so very pleasing that it belies the careful attention to detail that went into its design. As a matter of fact, I think it’s safe to say that the masters at Baccarat have had an undeniable and crucial impact on the work of the great Impressionist painters. The understanding of how color placement affects the eye differently using discrete juxtaposition as opposed to traditional blending may have been learned not from the close study of the natural world after all – but likely Seurat or Monet just brought a couple Baccarat paperweights to the local bistro, and after several glasses of wine and beer, (back then people avoided water whenever possible) our pantheon of painters began to re-visualize the world. How fitting then, that the magnificent Impressionist holdings in the Chicago Art Institute (thanks largely to one prescient and generous woman) would seem to reside on a foundation in the form of the great Arthur Rubloff Paperweight Collection two floors below!!




LOT 7. Rare antique Clichy blue millefiori chequer paperweight.


What? You say that here have been too many songs written about the color blue. There’s even an entire genre simply called, Blues. You may feel blue, or have the blues but can you play the Blues, if you haven’t lived the Blues? And just when you thought you’d been exposed to every shade, tone and tint of blue that there ever was, along comes this fresh-as-a-daisy Clichy filled with slightly electric baby blue filament twists, and dotted throughout with wonderful complex canes. So take a good look and see if you can resist throwing some chips on the table and going all in for a real beauty and a fresh take on the world’s favorite color, dressing the world’s finest art form.




LOT 10. Exceptional antique Saint Louis flat flower bouquet paperweight.


Remember Aladdin’s Lamp? Sure you do. Well the wonderfully twisting stem of this classical arrangement makes the weight, weightless, appearing to rise like smoke from the bottle or lamp. At least that’s how it struck me. (And why is it always Aladdin’s LAMP but then you also always hear about putting the genie back in the BOTTLE?). And boy, it was hard to tell if the Robin Williams’ genie was actually a jinn, or he was just full of gin, so manic was he in the role. Anyway, this weight is beautifully balanced in shapes and colors with the star-cut base providing the icing on the cake – or is it the frosting on the glass? Wait a minute; that’s frost on the glass and ice refers to jewels, right? All this technical nomenclature becomes overwhelming – just take a good look, folks; it’s a knockout bouquet that will add chic styling and enviable pizzazz to your antique holdings. Ask for close-ups!




LOT 35. Antique Baccarat macedoine end-of-day filigree miniature paperweight.


Just wanted to point out that these playful and compact modernist creations DO come along from time to time. If memory serves, there was some serious dueling recently at auction that had us all a little concerned… OKAY, Just Kidding – it was fun to watch! But truth be told, that iteration was engraved. Here, the macedoine’s design resembles a bright and cheerful little square puzzle in a circular frame; the happy and motion-filled twists are barely restrained by the more delicately spun latticinio segments — and the interplay results in a very satisfying harmony. Lot 35 presents a good opportunity for those of you, who are still not sleeping well for having fallen by the wayside last time around in digital battle over the last macedoine. Who knew a little salad could cause such a stir?




LOT 78. Paul Stankard flower bouquet with seed pods and blueberries orb.


Sometimes you’ll see Paul Stankard’s name misspelled as Paul “Standard,” and you know what?Maybe artificial intelligence with its aggravating auto-correct is on to something; after all – Paul has set the STANDARD, so it would be only fitting that he owns the very word. This wonderful orb is only a further argument in favor of a name change. Wherever you look, turning this glass earth around in your fortunate hands, you see life in all its manifold glory erupting and uncoiling from the soil, stretching the ligaments of life heavenward. Be grateful
that the fine glass gives the weight’s unbelievably fertile elements a finite universe to explore, or you could wake up one morning on a pillow of ferns and covered in dew, with a full forest inside what was your home the night before.




LOT 100. Andrew Byers 2008 tulip, crocus and daisy all-over bouquet paperweight.


Word on the street has it that Andrew Byers has been edging past both Mad Max (look him up) and the lovable Crocodile Dundee to become the best-known and most-loved artistic Australian/New Zealander! Or is it that we’re just a little myopic around these parts? Anyway, Byers is certainly favored among serious paperweight collectors, and here we have a trio of varied designs to satisfy different desires. Lot 100 is especially special if you’ll pardon the parlance, with the artist’s lively constructions and cheerful pastel palette on full display. And just think – you didn’t have to go to the other side of the world to purchase this. Oh, unless you already live over there and want to bring the weight back to the Southern Hemisphere!




LOT 120. Vandermark Merritt Glass Studios 1985 “Orchid” diatreta and insculpture paperweight, by Barry Sautner and Doug Merritt


Inspired. In the most fundamental sense, there are two basic approaches to sculpture. You build up or you break down. (There are all kinds of variations and crossover and hybrid techniques, but for our purposes, it holds.) The more difficult of the two techniques is breaking down; that is to say when you begin with a mass of your medium, and you know the finished artwork is trapped or hiding within that block, (whether it’s of wood, marble or glass). You have to free the finished artwork by subtraction. You know what you want to do and likely have made endless measurements in your notebooks because in this approach, mistakes are deadly. Michelangelo was and is the world’s greatest sculptor, and this is how he worked.
A similar dedication is apparent in Lot 120, this small glass masterpiece, where the artists had managed to coax the complex and delicate floral forms out of the solid glass surrounding them, while avoiding terrible accidents (including possible cracks from flawed glass). Think of how the tension must build; the closer you get to finalizing the work the more devastating the outcome of an error. Excavating these wondrous shapes and often gossamer-like designs is not for the faint of heart. You have to be pretty tough to work with these flowers!




LOT 144. Jim D’Onofrio 2007 “Blue and Gold Macaw” parrot on a branch paperweight.


This remarkable bird situated in its palpably humid environs has the visceral presence of a Fauvist painting in three dimensions. (Fauvism, or “wild beasts,” was a pre-WW I French school of painting.) Seriously, there’s an enlarged detail of the parrot on the inside rear cover of the auction catalogue that begs to be framed. With a coat of breath-taking blue (yeah, that’s an official color name now) this bird perches almost regally on the branch. He’s ready for lunch and someone better be ready to bring it, or else. A marvelously dimensional experience. Ask to see the hologram! Oh, wait those are still in production; until then we can still offer Marty’s magnificent Spin Videos!




Lot 237. Michael Hunter 2008 “Swirley 2” filigree cushion large vase


This looks and feels like a wizard’s magical glass basket! The lively, moving and breathing shapes resemble a school of happy-go-lucky sea anemones in a wild dance! The multiple techniques Michael recruited for the vase’s execution require more explanation than we have time or room for in this setting, so suffice it to say you are in the hands of a true master, who is so very accomplished, he makes it all look a bit too easy. Don’t be fooled. Yes, we know – it won’t fit in your paperweight cabinet, but you do have a table somewhere on premises that would allow you to make a glorious statement with this magnificent creation, don’t you? Honestly, this masterful sculpture has the design and flair of a Matisse! This is so striking, it will set the tone not only for the room it is in, but for any room adjoining that space! And you are going to be the one to own this. Get ready.




Okay fellow glass lovers, we’re out of time today and we’re raising the shades and letting light back in the room. It’s time to go home and reflect on how much more attention you need to pay to any weight that you see in this auction. If you like something, you really owe it to yourself to contact us with any questions and to request more photographic variations by which you can make more fully informed decisions. For those folks who actually make it to the gallery to review what they’ve chosen online to bid for, they invariably are surprised at two things — how much more appealing are the weights they already favor, but also, how positively struck they are by a good number of other weights that they glossed over and / or missed entirely!

So, don’t be a glosser! Enjoy the catalogue slowly and ask us about anything…

Thank you for your time in an overcrowded world of blogs and postings; we appreciate your
support. And good luck in the auction.





In Gratitude…

It’s a privilege to reach that point in time where we at the gallery get to gratefully acknowledge your beyond critical participation in generating another successful auction.

The last of the weights are being given their orders to ship out and we’re running low on our environmentally-friendly “peanuts!”

As you read this, members of our small staff have, for the last few weeks been knee-deep in laying the groundwork for October’s Auction 79.  But mum’s the word on that just now!  In the meantime, we’ll have the farewell-to-summer brochure delivered to many of your mailboxes just to hold you over until the leaves begin to turn…

Thank You.



The auction has ended, but here are the details that were posted before and during the sale.

The auction was fully online, hosted on our AUCTION WEBSITE. A web friendly digital e-catalog can be viewed above, while a printed copy of the catalog is for sale at PRINT-CATALOG. For those of you who have enjoyed watching spin videos of featured pieces, they can be accessed via the Auction 78 playlist on our YouTube Channel. If you see something to your liking, please do not fail to place an initial bid in order to ensure that you have a position in the competitive bidding that follows in the second half of the auction. Competitive bidding concludes after each lot closes, whereby the Buy-At-Reserve stage commences offering all unsold lots at their reserve prices.

If you’re new to our auctions, or if you would just like a refresher, we recently put together a video explaining the auction process. So we encourage you to watch for a full explanation of our unique slow close auctions, including the different stages, rules and processes. And please call us at (312) 583-1177 if you have any questions

We recommend that you give the catalog’s Conditions of Sale a careful examination for a full understanding of the protocols. A key for condition statements can be found in the Conditions of Sale page in the catalog. Please call the gallery with any questions about these changes or the auction format, and don’t forget, we’re always happy to send additional images, videos or condition reports upon request.

We are currently open to visit by appointment only, so please get in touch to schedule a time to see every lot in person at our gallery in Chicago, 410 S. Michigan Ave., suite 207. If you prefer to place any or all bids by phone, or have any questions, just give us a call at 1-800-538-0766.

Great Lakes Paperweights


Frankly, the past Covid-dominated year has been one where I have accomplished some pretty daunting projects and I thought I would be seeing an end, or at least, a slowdown afterward. 2021 was to be a time of transformation in my life; haven’t we all imagined that!

Then the news came.

The Bergstrom-Mahler Museum of Glass had just acquired fifteen Johne Parsley paperweights, to add to its permanent holdings, a gift from the collection of Marge and Gary McClanahan. Their largesse brings the Bergstrom holdings up to twenty Parsley jewels, paperweights that span his late-blooming career as a glass artist. Since Johne’s passing in 2009, I think back on the memory of his celebrated achievements as a contemporary paperweight maker, one of the best of the best. He has earned his place in the hallow halls of the Bergstrom, as well as in other worthy glass museums and private collections worldwide.

Johne’s love for glass was well established early in life. Before he could drive a car, he observed glass making through the bleak, open-door factories of West Virginia. He rode the rails from West Virginia to Chicago to see the “Bohemian glass blowers” and technological innovations at the 1933 Century of Progress International Exposition, in Chicago. With fire in his belly, Johne made small objets d’art, which were sold in New York City’s department stores while he was also a scientific glass blower at the Metropolitan Life Co. During his career as a chemical engineer, Johne built a small studio as part of his humble abodes in Kentucky, Michigan and Pennsylvania. There was no doubt that his passion was wrapped around a pair of cross fires (as well as around his close-knit family).

Johne left us in 2009. His botanical paperweights, when sold at recent auctions, have been snatched up immediately. So it’s wonderful to pay tribute to him once again as part of the Bergstom-Mahler’s New On View exhibition. The upcoming lecture is the fourth in a series of events which celebrate his life and give new meaning to the phrase, “self-made.” Since his death, the PCA arranged for an exhibition of his works at its Toledo, Ohio conference. The three Parsley children, with artists, friends and collectors watching melted his imperfect weights (and per the artist’s wishes) at Wheaton Village in 2018. 2019 gave light to his work in Crieff, Scotland where I met Peter McDougall of the former Perthshire Paperweights. Johne was the first American artist to work at this famed, high-quality glassworks. Their work led to a collection of outstanding piedouche paperweights. The weight showcased Warden Pears and blossoms laid atop white lace canes, encircled by millefiori and perched on a latticinio basket with double torsades — all encased in handsomely faceted optical crystal.

I am privileged to lecture on Johne, the artist, the man and my father on July 8, 2021 at 6:00 PM CDT. Together, we’ll look at his works acquired by the Bergstrom-Mahler and wander through the family images that paint a picture of this self-made man despite the odds of world wars, The Great Depression, and loss of family. Nothing stopped him. “Go Johnny!”
Please join me on July 8 by logging into The 6:00 PM CT lecture will be followed by a question and answer session.

More information on glass artist Johne Parsley can be found at
Great Lakes Paperweights: The Johne Parsley Legacy Project